I am a house-pochondriac. As someone newly divorced, my financial status is diminished. Refinanced the house means I am the sole mortgage owner. That’s ulcer-inducing. I already have the bad habit of self-diagnosing my health. Google helps me diagnose symptoms and declare terminal illness on a regular basis. Now I’m doing that to my home too. Even though I don’t like my house, I asked for it in the settlement. Initially we intended to put it on the market, so it was fully vetted by inspectors. Also, since we lived here for many years, I know its history intimately. The house’s problems are cosmetic. SinceRead More →

Making class notes available ahead of time to students can solve a lot of challenges for teachers and students alike. Teaching at a community college often means working with students who need help learning notetaking and other  “college ready” skills. Also, today’s students often come to class without reading beforehand, and with little skill in listening to lectures. This means that active learning, which relies on applying concepts, can be difficult, and teaching often defaults to a “sage on the stage” model just to cover enough material to get through an activity. The strategy of giving out notes ahead of time can compensate for theseRead More →

Today, I had the joy of witnessing BRCC’s commencement ceremony. I had more fun at today’s ceremony than at most any other I’ve attended. There have been some momentous ones, where I’ve hooded advisees, watched favorite cohorts graduate, or even graduated myself, but this one was particularly joyous. Today, I got to sit on the stage and watch the students as they shook hands with the Chancellor, pose for the photographer, and clutch their diploma folder. The ceremonies at USF were impersonal, even with students I taught. Today the sheer aura of success radiated off the students’ faces. You can see that aura from theRead More →

I am trying to hack my related post plugin to work only on my blog and not all the other pages. It requires learning about WordPress hooks and conditional tags. This means learning about the is_home tag. The idea of is_home as conditional is quite worrisome in our current political and economic landscape, and in the context of my new mortgage, my intended renovations,  my newly adopted rescue cats.  I provide their “Forever Home” in animal rescue lingo. That’s a weighty responsibility. I consider it positive that I still have toothpaste in the tube I hacked open.Read More →

“Make it Do” is better than recycling, International Buy Nothing Day, and homemade Christmas presents all put together. Our daily infrastructure makes it so hard to recycle. It’s better not to buy in the first place. The Baton Rouge Recycling Office has an excellent link to the Center for a New American Dream. The Center promotes anti-consumption, with loads of resources about cutting down on trash. The actual link about “reducing junk mail” is buried on the site. Someone at the Recycling Office is very clever. The Center’s clear anti-capitalism message will turn folks away and their junk mail will continue to clog Baton Rouge’sRead More →

Usually, when I pass the self-storage places in the strip malls as I drive to work, I ignore them. They are part of the mundane aspects of daily life that blend in with the roadside trivia like payday loan shops Payless shoes, the Mall, and Office Depot, McDonalds, the gas station. None of these things stand out until I need them or they disrupt me. Selective perception, and all. Lately, I’ve observed the large amount of self-storage places. I started tracking them during a trip to New York City, where they seemed out of place because the city has no strip malls. Since space isRead More →